Melanie Nambiar
Melanie is Mintel's Southeast Asia Trends Analyst based in the Kuala Lumpur office, focusing on how intriguing innovations and thought-provoking regulations impact consumer behaviour in the region and vice versa.

According to official statistics, Indonesia is the world’s fourth most populous and largest Muslim majority nation. With a quickly-expanding middle class eager to experience innovative products and services, several consumer segments are primed for fast-paced growth.

The potential buying power of different Muslim demographics is gaining greater attention worldwide, and brands are starting to focus their strategies accordingly.

For instance, last year saw Switzerland-based Givaudan opening a new product development centre in Jakarta, Indonesia, to formulate scents and tastes tailored specifically for Muslim consumers. The facility will see the manufacturer closely collaborate with locals on the customisation of fragrances, homecare products, sweet and savoury snacks, and beverages that meet the changing preferences of Muslims in Southeast Asia’s largest country. The expansion in Indonesia, where Givaudan already has a halal-certified production plant, is part of the company’s strategy to better serve customers in ‘high-growth markets’.

French supermarket chain Carrefour has partnered with Indonesia’s Mosque Council to open mini supermarkets that cater to shoppers in selected mosque districts nationwide. Meanwhile, Jakarta announced last year its plans to increase its range of halal travel products and services in order to become the leading destination for Muslim travellers from home and abroad—an aim that they have set out to achieve by 2020.

Going beyond the shores of Southeast Asia

All over the world, brands are starting to research new ways to manufacture, market and distribute lifestyle-oriented products that are aspirationally appealing to Muslim consumers.


Muslim British-Japanese designer Hana Tajima has been collaborating with Japanese fashion brand Uniqlo since 2016 to produce modest fashion pieces for Muslim women. What started as a capsule collection has now grown into a global collection that has entered the US and many other markets, catapulting modest fashion into the mainstream.


In 2017, international sportswear brand Nike introduced its first sporting hijab made with light fabric and tiny holes for breathability, making sport comfortable for Muslim women.

When it comes to food and drink, greater awareness of Muslim dietary preferences is also opening new pathways for food retailers and restaurant operators to engage with consumers. In France, the Hal’Rezo app uses geolocation technology to help people find halal dining options. Meanwhile, the Seoul Metropolitan Government in South Korea announced plans to launch halal Korean cooking classes in a bid to attract Muslim tourists—a positive strategy, particularly as the country continues to see a growing pool of Muslim visitors who are often met with obstacles when it comes to food, simply due to the lack of pork-free dishes in the country.

This all sits well with Mintel Trend ‘Serving the Underserved’ which highlights how underrepresented consumers are now gaining a greater voice in the global consumer landscape.